By Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 13 April 2007
Answers in Genesis' new Creation Museum is scheduled to open on the Memorial Day weekend. While we cannot go and view the exhibit yet, we can give you a preliminary review of the material that they have posted on the website.
First, let's take a look at the walk-through that is posted on the Answers in Genesis website. I encourage you to open it in a different window so you can follow along. I will only be able to discuss a few of the walk-thru points, because of the limited information they have posted on their website.
The first two points of the walk-thru are the entrance. Point 3 is where the young earth deception begins, and they start out with an obvious one. This is the Grand Canyon Wall. They portray a section of rock from the Grand Canyon, but it includes a dinosaur skeleton embedded in the wall. The horizontal layers of the Grand Canyon are dated by geologists as being 545 million years old at the bottom (Tapeats Sandstone), and 250 million years old at the top of the canyon (Kaibab Limestone). This means the youngest rocks at the canyon are Permian in age. The dinosaurs did not live until the Triassic Period, which began at the end of the Permian. The first dinosaurs appear about 230 million years ago. In fact, if you proceed up the geologic rock column in the western United States, you would not find any dinosaur fossils until you reach the Kayenta Formation, which is another 3,000 feet above the top layer of the Grand Canyon. This formation contains only trace fossils (dinosaur footprints), but no actual dinosaur bones.
Answers in Genesis would have its museum visitors believe that dinosaurs were in the Grand Canyon rocks, when in fact, they are much further up the geologic column (see Stratigraphy, Part 2). AiG considers the rocks of the canyon to be deposited by Noah's Flood. However, there are absolutely no dinosaurs or mammals in these rocks. If the young earth story is true, all animals, including dinosaurs and mammals, would have been buried by these flood sediments.
The dinosaur fossils are particularly damaging to the young earth theory. All dinosaur trace fossils are thousands of feet above the Grand Canyon rocks (stratigraphically speaking). Thus, you have dinosaurs eating (teeth, gnaw-marks on bones), mating (nests), pooping, and walking (footprints), all on rocks that were supposed to be deposited in the late stages of Noah's Flood. If the young earth theory were true, at least we would have dinosaur footprints, nest sites, and poop at the bottom of the canyon. There are none. (For more, see Dinosaur Evidences for an Old Earth.)
Point 4 is the lobby, where "dinosaurs keep watch over the entryway." Answers in Genesis knows that to reach young people, you must fascinate them, and what better tool is there than the dinosaurs. As they have stated, their goal is to reach youth before they can be tainted by the world. This shows the most important reason the young earth movement is still going. It is because parents (and pastors) teach their youth that the earth is young. Very few people convert to the young earth movement after seeing the scientific evidence (however, many, many people abandon young earth creationism when faced with the evidence). More than anything, this museum is aimed at what they view as the future of young earth creationism...the youth of today.
Young earth creationists are trained at an early age to be skeptical of any evidence that is contrary to a young earth. It's like they have a filter, and they won't let anything through that doesn't pass the young earth test. This is best explained by the article Morton's Demon, written by a former young earth creationist. The article is well worth reading. Take a moment, if you have time, and check it out.
Point 7 is the Stargazers' Room. The walk-thru states that "the latest images of the stars confirm an all powerful Creator, not a random bang!" Of course, the random bang is the Big Bang. Answers in Genesis has been telling their followers for years that the Big Bang is in trouble. More and more evidence is said to drive a nail in the coffin of the Big Bang. However, as the years have gone by, the Big Bang has been confirmed time and again by new discoveries and experiments. Today, the Big Bang is far stronger as a theory than it was when Answers in Genesis first started. In reality, the Big Bang proves there is a Creator, much better than young earth creationism does. The Big Bang proves there was a beginning, and therefore there had to be a "beginner" who started it all. When we get to Point 11, I'll make another important point that concerns Point 7.
Point 10 has a display with children playing with dinosaurs. As we all know, dinosaurs died out about 65 million years ago, and man (hominid species) did not come along until the last 5 million years. The fossil record contains a layer of rocks that represents 60 million years, which separates the fossils of dinosaurs and man. If the young earth story were true, we would have dinosaur and human fossils together in the rock record. They would have both been destroyed by Noah's Flood 4,300 years ago. This clear, distinct separation in the fossil record is proof-positive against the young earth theory.
Point 11 is probably the display Answers in Genesis is most proud of. It shows two paleontologists, digging on the same dinosaur fossil, but reaching opposite conclusions. They say the difference is in the starting assumptions. Whereas the secular scientist assumes the radiometric dating methods are accurate, and that rocks were deposited slowly over millions of years, the other assumes the rocks were laid down in a catastrophic flood only thousands of years ago.
This, along with Point 7, illustrates why the young earth creationist is such a bad scientist. As we all know, the scientific method involves making observations, running experiments, and then reaching conclusions, in that order.1 However, the young earth creationist uses the opposite order. They read the Bible, and assume the earth was created in six 24-hour days. Therefore, they have already reached the conclusion that the earth is young, even before they examine the scientific evidence. When they examine the science, they are not objectively looking at it...they are trying to figure out how to make it fit into the time frame of the 6 day creation event. This is why they get it wrong, and why their errors are so obvious. To make it fit, they have to selectively choose which information fits their cause, twist the evidence, or, in some cases, some young earth creationists have even made up information (such as the other creation museum, the Creation Evidence Museum).
Because they do not follow the rules of science (observe-experiment-conclusion), but do it backwards, one could easily argue that there is no such thing as a true young earth creationist who is a scientist.
What is wrong with young earth creationists is not their belief in the Bible. As a Christian, I fully believe in the inerrant, infallible Word of God, just as they do. What is different? It is the interpretation of God's Word, not the Word itself, that is different. Although God's Word does not change, our interpretation of God's Word, based on science, can change. Old earth creationists do not change God's Word...we merely interpret it different. In the same way that the two paleontologists in the museum display have differing interpretations of the evidence, young and old earth creationists have differing interpretations of the same Bible. One interpretation (old earth) agrees with science, while the other (young earth) is completely unscientific.
Point 12 on the walk-thru is the Bible Authority Room. The caption here states the Bible is true, and whoever "rejects His history--including six-day creation and Noah's Flood--is 'willfully' ignorant." As an old earth creationist who accepts the Bible, with six creation days (millions of years long), and an actual Noah's Flood, I hold the Bible to be my absolute authority. What is different? Again, it's the interpretation, not the Bible itself. The statement should read "...whoever rejects "our interpretation...."
Point 13 displays Eden, with Adam walking with dinosaurs and naming them. The caption goes on to say "God's Word is true, or evolution is true. No millions of years. There's no room for compromise." Millions of Christians accept both the Bible and evolution, which is known as theistic evolution. C.S. Lewis, the great theologian who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, was an evolutionist. Billy Graham even states that evolution and the Bible are compatible. If it's good enough for Billy Graham and C.S. Lewis, it should be good enough for any Christian! An old earth and the Bible is not an "either-or" choice, as this museum statement has said. You can believe in both. (Many other famous Christians are old earth believers. Click here for more.) Answers in Genesis feels that we have compromised the Bible. We have not compromised the Bible...we have compromised the young earth interpretation of the Bible.
Point 17 mentions the "First Shedding of Blood." Young earth creationists believe there was no death of any animals prior to Adam's sin. They claim the first death is when God clothed Adam and Eve with an animal skin. They reject pre-sin death because they see it as contrary to God's "very good" creation, and they feel it compromises Jesus' death on the cross. Old earth creationists have shown time and again in countless articles that death before sin is not an issue, and it makes no difference in any Biblical doctrine. For more reading on this subject, see the section Death Before Sin.
The next series of museum points (23-29) discusses Noah's Flood. The claim is made that the flood was global. However, there is not a shred of scientific evidence for a global flood. Old earth creationists believe in a local flood, that was universal in its effects. In other words, mankind had not spread far from Eden, so God did not have to flood the entire world. To a person affected by the flood, the universality of it (death) would be complete. The biggest problem facing old earth creationism is the location of a basin in the Middle East that could contain this flood event, yet be big enough to float the ark for a year, without the water receding. Such a basin has been identified, but more research is needed to confirm it, so I cannot comment on it at this time.
The ark itself presents special problems for young earth creationism. It is too small for all the animals, so they reduce it, and say that Noah took an animal "kind." In other words, only one dog was on the ark, and all of our dogs, including wolves, coyotes, dingo's, and fox's all evolved from the dog kind that was on the ark. Based on how many animals they estimate (16,000), each person on the ark would care for 2,000 animals per day, or about 23 seconds per animal. (For more on the Ark, see Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study)
Perhaps the biggest Flood issue that young earth creationists have never addressed is the post-Flood world. They claim the earth's rock layers were all deposited during the flood, reworking the entire surface of the earth. There would have been no plant life of any kind when Noah got off the ark. He would have to feed the animals for several years at least, until the plants grew back. Also, Answers in Genesis claims dinosaurs were on the ark (click here for this claim). What would a carnivorous dinosaur such as T-rex and the raptors eat once they got off the ark? They would have to eat the animals getting off the ark! The young earth theory for dinosaurs on the ark would have led to our extinction! You would not be reading this today if their theories were correct!
Point 36 confirms Answers in Genesis desire to reach children, as they have created an area just for children to be indoctrinated into the young earth belief system.
Even in this brief walk-thru, it is easy to see the flawed science and wrong Biblical interpretation used by Answers in Genesis. Once again, the world will laugh at young earth creationists (and in doing so, at the church as a whole), as they try to pass off their bad science as the truth. In the end, the church will suffer the most. Just as the church gave up the idea of an earth-centered universe (geocentrism), the church today needs to give up young earth creationism, and move on down the road to recovery.
1 According to Webster’s Dictionary, the scientific method is “…the collection of data through observation and if possible experiment, the formulation of hypothesis, and the testing and confirmation of the hypothesis formulated.”
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
Creation Museum Review (Off-site)
To learn more
about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
or check out the article
Can You Be A
Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?
Feel free to check out more of this website. Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.